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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Review: Fuzhou Feihua F&H 50mm F/1.4 CCTV Lens FH5014MC

This lens is made by Fuzhou Feihua Optoelectronic Technology (F&H), the company behind the Fujian branded 25mm F/1.4 and 35mm F/1.7 lenses. They make a large selection of cctv lenses including two 50mm F/1.4 lenses that are of interest to users of mirrorless cameras. One of the lenses is visually very similar to the 35mm and the other which I am reviewing here is of a different design and has been likened to a flashlight or a trumpet thanks to it's very large front element.




Build quality and finish:

It's pretty well put together considering the price, it's all metal which is a good start and while the finish isn't perfect there's only so much you can expect from such a cheap lens and it certainly feels more solid than some of the plastic kit lenses the big companies bundle with cameras these days! The lens will fit an C-mount to NEX adapter fine and gives moderate vignetting on an APS-C sensor. On micro four thirds the image circle covers the sensor but the rear of the lens is slightly too large to screw fully into an adapter and the lens will require modification. On some lenses the entire rear of the lens needs attention but with this lens it's just the focus ring which should simplify matters, I haven't attempted to modify the lens yet but the focus ring appears to be held in place with some small screws so it may even detach entirely in which case it could either be left off or certainly trimmed much more easily.

Image Quality:

The lens is similar to the F&H 35mm in a lot of ways, it has the same small circle of focus in the central portion of the frame giving way to much swirliness around the edges. With the 35mm lens I found it was extreme field curvature causing this and that the lens could be focused with some degree of sharpness towards the edges but never at the same time as the centre. With this lens I find the edges are soft even if you attempt to focus specifically at the edge so you could say it was somewhat inferior in this aspect.

The lens has very nice bokeh and highlights are rendered in a more neutral fashion than with the 35mm which tended to have rings around circular highlights, a quality I found appealing but I can understand that some will prefer the smoother look this lens provides. The lens is very prone to flare and loss of contrast when the sun is in or near the frame so a hood might be something to consider if this bothers you. The colours from this lens are very vivid and well saturated but the contrast can be somewhat weak at times especially when flare rears it's head.

Overall the images this lens delivers are very imperfect but very fun, the more I use lenses like this the more I realise that they are tools that have much creative potential, you can achieve a look to images with theses lenses that you just cannot match with more expensive conventional optics so a direct comparison is not only unfair but also inappropriate, there are relatively mundane objects that you can make interesting with a lens like this, in fact I find that I look at everything differently when I use this lens and other similar lenses because I know that subjects that would often look plain if captured with a normal lens suddenly look interesting or have something to offer that they didn't before. You see the world differently through these kind of lenses and that is a good thing, don't look at them as a cheap alternative to conventional glass but as something different and fun but not necessarily less worthy of being on the front of your camera!


Compared to a conventional photographic lens this lens is very poor or even pathetic but that would be missing the point and this lens can do things no expensive conventional lens can do. The images it makes are different and fun and distinctive and that helps to fuel creativity and for that reason I think it's a great buy! Never approach these lenses as a rival to a conventional lens but instead see them as something entirely different that can live alongside your conventional glass and not compete with it!


Fungus the Photo! said... Best Blogger Tips

Some of the Tessar designs for 135 format, also have this look? The sharpness they achieve in the centre, sacrifices the edges and corners. The Domiplan versus Zeiss 50mm lenses show correction is possible but may cost more.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

If you've tried also the 35mm f/1.7, which one would you recommend for being used on a Lumix micro 4/3 (G2)?
I've found this sold with Mount Adapter + Micro Ring to EP1 EP2 EP3 GF1 GF2 GF3 Camera, do you think it will have the same problems with the adapter you were talking about?

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